Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Review + Giveaway: The Shadow Queen

Ravenspire #1
C.J. Redwine
Young Adult/Fantasy
400 pages
Balzer + Bray
Available Now
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

The Shadow Queen is a hugely entertaining reimagining of the Snow White fairy tale, giving us a power hungry villain we can love to hate and an underdog heroine to really root for as she gathers the courage to pit her strength against that of the woman who destroyed her family.

Lorelai is a beautiful blend of characteristics, someone who thinks quick on her feet and can hold her own in any number of situations, but who isn't overconfident and recognizes her own limitations. She's understandably scared of facing Irina before she feels she's ready, but when Irina forces her hand, she throws herself into reclaiming her kingdom with every bit of her heart and soul. Though reeling from a very personal loss, Lorelai doesn't storm the palace in search of vengeance, instead she grieves the loss and lets her mind guide her while her heart heals, proving time and again that she's even stronger than she gives herself credit for.

Our time is split primarily between Lorelai and Kol, a dragon prince from a neighboring kingdom, a young man who is a fascinating complement to our heroine. Where Lorelai has always lived knowing the weight of the kingdom would one day rest on her shoulders, Kol has blustered his way through life safe with the knowledge that his father and older brother would ensure his head never bears a crown, and it's interesting to watch how each of them handles their newfound responsibilities. The romance between them is quiet and slow building, the needs of their respective kingdoms first and foremost in their minds, but a big enough spark exists to warm our hearts (and cheeks) as they gear up to bring Irina down.

One other highlight that must be mentioned is Lorelai's Gyrfalcon Sasha, whose thoughts Lorelai can read thanks to the magic she used to heal the bird long ago. Sasha's occasional confusion over the fact that Lorelai doesn't wish to have dead squirrels dropped in her lap for lunch is the perfect dash of humor to bring a smile to our faces and balance Irina's darkness. Overall, The Shadow Queen is an outstanding first installment, and highly recommended for all fantasy and fairy tale lovers.

Rating: 4/5

Find The Shadow Queen:

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C.J. Redwine loves fairy tales, Harry Potter, and Sherlock. She is the author of the Defiance trilogy, a post-apocalyptic fantasy from Balzer + Bray. C.J. lives in Nashville with her husband and children. If the novel writing gig ever falls through, she’ll join the Avengers and wear a cape to work every day. To learn more about C.J., visit her website at 

Where you can find C. J.:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads

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One lucky winner will receive a finished copy of The Shadow Queen as well as swag! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure and check out all the stops on the tour for more reviews, interviews and guest posts!

2/8/2016- Adventures of a Book Junkie- Interview 
2/9/2016- The Irish Banana ReviewReview  
2/10/2016- Once Upon a TwilightGuest Post 
2/11/2016- A Backwards StoryReview 
2/12/2016- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post
2/15/2016- The Young Folks- Review

2/16/2016- Mundie Moms- Interview

2/17/2016- Supernatural Snark- Review

2/18/2016- Maria V. SnyderInterview
2/19/2016- FiktshunGuest Post


  1. Oh yes I also really enjoyed this one, the ideas were so much fun as well as the characters. I loved the ideas added to the story!

  2. Maybe one of these days, or wait to see how book 2 turns out, hmm, yees

  3. I'm currently reading this one and loving it! I do want a gyrfalcon of my own too, even with the threat of gutted squirrels falling on my lap on occasion! ;)

  4. Jenny, I'm so happy you liked this one as much as I did. Lorelei was a truly fantastic heroine. I 100% agree on your assessment of her personality. I liked how the romance was on the quieter side too. It made sense for them to be focused more on their kingdoms more than anything else, but I was also incredibly happy whenever the romance did show up in small doses. :)
    And yes to Sasha! He was my favorite! :) I loved how he tried to give her dead squirrels too. Super cute in a morbid way!
    Lovely review, Jenny!

  5. *happy dance* I am so glad you loved this retelling. The world was wonderful and I liked the characters and slow-building romance.

  6. Beautiful review Jenny, I need to try this one!

  7. Great review! This retelling looks soooooo good!! :D

  8. I'm a fan of Snow White retellings, so this one is on my radar. Lovely review, Jenny!

  9. I tend to be weary of fairytale retellings sometimes. As much as I do love them and fairytales too, they can become a bit repetitive after awhile. This one sounds wonderful though and I've been seeing other positive reviews for it (including yours here) so now I'm sold :D

  10. I had no idea this was going to be a series. I've read mixed reviews for this one so I still haven't made up my mind in picking it up.

  11. I am reading many glowing reviews for this one, making me think I need to give it a chance. I have really struggled with Fairy Tale retellings, but I think I would like this one.

  12. Goodness, EVERYONE is raving about this which means I need it! So excited!

  13. Niiiice! I am so excited to read this one! I just need to find time to work it into my queue! I love a good fairy tale retelling and this one sounds remarkable! Nice review!

  14. I enjoyed this one as well. I also LOVED Sasha and I also wouldn't want to share lunch with her. LOL Didn't the queen remind you of Charlize Theron's rendition of the evil queen?

  15. This one I hadn't been interested in until the reviews started coming in this week. We got it for the store and I think I'll have to grab a copy for sure. I'm really liking the sound of the characters and the world. It sounds amazing.

  16. I'm glad you enjoyed this, Jenny! Redwine's work really hasn't worked for me in the past and I feel as if this might not tick off all the right boxes for me either but I'm glad to see it's found its audience, as her debut trilogy did as well. Wonderful review, dear!

  17. I'm not a Snow White fan (her voice in the movie...*shudders*), but I may have to try this! Glad you enjoyed it, Jenny!

  18. I just read Jasprit's review and she had totally different thoughts about some things, so it's really interesting to see how differently you felt about certain aspects :P I love villains that I love to hate and Jasprit's review totally made me dislike Irina a lot already <3 Lorelai seems wondeerful as a heroine and I'm glad she and Kol have a slow-building romance bubbling between them. My favorite kind :P I'm so glad to see you enjoyed it so much, Jenny! I know you enjoyed the Defiance trilogy, so it's good to see that Ms. Redwine didn't disappoint you this time either :)

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination

  19. I have heard nothing but great things about this book. Love you review. I can't wait to read this book!!

  20. I've been a big fan of C.J. Redwine's books. So I'm glad this has been getting such great reviews, I read a preview chapter and can't wait to continue with the story.

  21. At least she's not one of those revenge-seekers who run into situations half-cocked!

  22. I have been trying to get my hands on this for a while. I haven't really read any Snow White retellings so that is going to be a first for me... and I love when the villain is done well. I think I have a thing for villains lately xD